Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Research Prominence

William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.


Longer, stricter lockdowns most effective, according to Queen’s economist

Queen’s researcher Christopher Cotton is one of the authors of “Building the Canadian Shield,” an approach that says a longer lockdown will save more lives and cost less economically.

As we settle into the first week of the declared State of Emergency, many Ontarians are wondering what impact the restrictions will have on COVID-19 cases and our local, regional, and national economies.

STUDIO model

Though the STUDIO model, Queen’s University economists Cotton, Huw Lloyd-Ellis, Bahman Kashi, Frederic Tremblay (PhD candidate), and alumnus Brett Crowley (BSc ’18; BA’ 19), in partnership with industry partner Limestone Analytics, are helping national and international policymakers build a roadmap for economic recovery efforts. The model produces an array of projections to show what will happen to the economy in different situations, depending on how the disease spreads, and how governments, consumers and firms respond to it. Understanding how economic outcomes respond to policy choices under alternative scenarios will help governments plan their response to COVID-19 over the coming months. In addition to the model being applied in Ontario and across Canada, the team is also working with governments in Rwanda and Malawi.

Queen’s researcher Christopher Cotton (Economics) is the senior economist on the COVID Strategic Choices Group, an interdisciplinary taskforce that includes doctors, epidemiologists, public policy and industry experts, and economists. The group has modelled the epidemiological and economic consequences of various lockdown scenarios. In their recently released strategy paper, “Building the Canadian Shield,” they say their alternative — a pan-Canadian, longer lockdown, followed by a gradual results-based relaxing of restrictions — will save more lives and cost less economically than the COVID-mitigation strategies most of the country has adopted.

For the economic analysis, the group adapted the STUDIO (Short-Term Under-capacity Dynamic Input-Output) model, developed by Cotton with Queen’s economics faculty in partnership with Limestone Analytics, a Kingston-based research and analytics firm, to map economic losses from COVID-19.

The Canadian Shield approach caught the attention of decision makers and media across Canada when it was released last week. The Gazette caught up with Dr. Cotton, the Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic and Financial Policy, to understand more about the modelling and the recommendations.

COVID-19 and Economic Modelling

You have been mapping COVID economic losses and economic recovery efforts since the spring. How did the combination of the economic modelling with epidemiological predictions cause you to look differently at the types of lockdowns?

[Photo of Chris Cotton]
Dr. Christopher Cotton, Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic and Financial Policy

Christopher Cotton: The STUDIO model was originally developed to help quantify the economic costs of alternative lockdown and reopening scenarios, in terms of jobs and GDP loss, at the national, provincial, and local levels. Lockdown policies are very costly for the economy and our analysis helped local policymakers understand how their communities were affected, and weigh the tradeoffs between health and economic projections. Since the beginning of the lockdowns last year, the tension between health and the economy has been front and centre in the policy discussion and our model added some hard evidence to this discussion. 

At the end of 2020, our team started working with epidemiologists who were providing longer-term projections of how the different lockdown strategies are likely to affect future waves of COVID-19 and lockdown policies that are likely to occur between now and when the vaccine is widely disseminated. We compared economic outcomes under several alternative mitigation and recovery scenarios, matching them to the long-term epidemiological and policy projections being considered by Global Canada's COVID Strategic Choices initiative.

Lockdown and Recovery

Was there anything surprising from the results of your modelling for the COVID Strategic Choices Group?

Christopher Cotton: Since the beginning of COVID, our team has been providing local economic estimates of the job and GDP loss associated with stricter lockdown policies. In many ways, our model provides policymakers evidence about the benefits of relaxing lockdown restrictions more quickly, at least in locations or sectors where it can be done safely. 

When we started looking beyond the short-term relaxations of lockdown restrictions to also consider how today’s policies affected the probability of additional waves of lockdown later in the year, the results were remarkable. It showed us just how important it is to consider the tradeoffs between economics and health over the longer term, and not just during the current wave of the disease.   

Our model allowed us to ask whether the economy is better off under an on-again, off-again cycle of less-strict lockdowns, or a stricter lockdown in the beginning of 2021, which allowed for a more-full recovery more quickly. The analysis is clear: The on-again, off-again lockdown cycle is worse for the economy than a stricter up-front lockdown that avoids future waves later in the spring.

Economic Impact

The argument for the mitigation approach (on and off-again lockdowns) has generally been that, following a lockdown, restrictions must be quickly eased to kick-start economies. Can you tell us why this is not the case?

Christopher Cotton: A quicker reopening might be good for the economy in the short run, but it makes it more likely that we will need another wave of lockdowns later in the year, perhaps multiple waves, before vaccines are available widely enough to allow for full reopening. The epidemiological projections are showing that if we rush into reopening too soon, or we don't take the current lockdown measures seriously enough, then we will have to go through additional waves of lockdowns before the vaccine is distributed widely enough to prevent shutdown. If we prioritize reopening as quickly as possible or don't take the current measures seriously, we will enter a cycle of on-again, off-again restrictions for the next eight months.  

Our economic model allows us to compare the overall costs to the Canadian economy of such an on-again, off-again cycle of lockdown restrictions, with the overall economic costs associated with a stricter, longer lockdown in the beginning, which lets us avoid additional waves of lockdowns later in the spring. We see that a stricter lockdown in the beginning is less costly in terms of lost jobs and GDP if it means no additional waves of lockdowns later. 

This is because the economic downturn associated with a lockdown doesn't disappear as soon as lockdown restrictions are lifted. Rather, it takes several months for the economy to recover after a lockdown, even a relatively short one. So, the on-again, off-again lockdown cycle is particularly costly for the economy because we start to recover, and then, even before we are fully recovered, we end up having to lockdown again and start the long recovery process over.

Pan-Canadian Approach

The “Building the Canadian Shield” strategy calls for a pan-Canadian approach to a longer, stricter lockdown. How is this defined?

Christopher Cotton: The paper outlines three major steps — the Canadian Shield approach — that the epidemiological research indicates could be taken to get COVID-19 cases under control as quickly as possible and avoid additional waves of the lockdown:

  1. Sustain an effective lockdown until COVID-19 cases are low enough that testing, tracing and isolation can work effectively;
  2. Relax restrictions only to the extent that new COVID-19 cases continue a steady decline of 17 per cent to 25 per cent per week; and
  3. Proactively assist the individuals, businesses and communities most affected by these policies.

It is important to note, however, that although the Canadian Shield approach involves strict lockdown measures today, it also recognizes that such restrictions are very costly and emphasizes the need to relax them in places where this can be done without seeing another uptick in transmission rates. The recommendations are mainly about avoiding a third wave later in the spring; which means a more cautious reopening strategy over the coming weeks and months.

Implementation and Change

What has the response been to the strategy? Has it caught the attention of decision-makers?

Christopher Cotton: Over the past several weeks, our research team’s economic analysis and the Canadian Shield proposal more broadly have been central in discussions of COVID-19 strategy at both a federal and provincial level. Not only has our analysis received a lot of media attention, but we have also engaged in discussions with or provided additional projections and analysis for policymakers. Newly announced measures in Ontario and Quebec are broadly consistent with the Canadian Shield strategy.

Our analysis is showing how the economic and health recommendations are not really at odds. Elimination of the disease and returning to normal sooner than later is better for both public health and the economy, even if the short run economic costs are high. 

‘Bridgerton’ a romanticized portrayal of Britain at the dawn of modernity

‘Bridgerton’ tells the story of the courtship and marriage of Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. ( Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Bridgerton, Netflix’s new eight-part period drama miniseries, launched on Christmas day, has already achieved the No. 1 spot overall in more than 75 countries.

The show is inspired by the romance novel series by American author Julia Quinn set in early 19th-century England. In the hands of executive producer Shonda Rhimes, the showrunner behind the blockbuster TV series Grey’s Anatomy, and collaborator and creator Chris van Dusen, Bridgerton pushes the envelope in depictions of race, gender and questions of power and sexual consent.

The series tells the story of the courtship and marriage of Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, and the impact of their relationship on the family, friends, gossipmongers and well-wishers that swirl around them.

Black actors appear in leading roles in Rhimes’s Bridgerton, including Regé-Jean Page as the Duke of Hastings, and Golda Rosheuvel as the Queen of England.

The show has ignited discussion about British Royals’ possible African ancestry, and at the same time, the plotlines ignore or obscure the evils of colonialism, poverty and racism. All of these were rife in this historical time period, and continue to blight our own era, as I chronicle in my book, The Regency Years, During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern.

The result is that Bridgerton is an escapist and deeply seductive fantasy (some Black commentators suggest one that particularly white people will love) of a society that combines elegance and passion with racial equality. This is the case even while the show with its inclusive approach to casting suggests new ways to challenge Eurocentric stories or who accesses the resources and markets associated with them.

The series doesn’t tell us a great deal about what life was really like in England in 1813, the year the series is set, but is rather a fairy-tale that on some levels challenges perceptions of race, gender and sexuality. Bridgerton is part frothy romance, part call to action.

Intense historical period

Bridgerton is set in 1813, thus placing it in the historical epoch known as the Regency, which extends from February 1811 to January 1820. It is perhaps the most extraordinary decade in all of British history, and it marks the dawn of the modern world.

The term “Regency” often calls to mind a certain style of British furniture, art, architecture and fashion. But Regency is originally a political term used to describe when a person was appointed to administer the affairs of the country during the minority, absence or incapacity of the sovereign. There have been scores of regencies in monarchies globally. England has had more than a dozen.

A solidier.
Posthumous portrait of Maj. Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, by John Wycliffe Lowes Forster, c. 1883. Brock died defending Niagara at Queenston Heights on Oct. 13, 1812, in a key battle of the War of 1812 that defended British interests in current-day Canada. (Wikimedia Commons)

Its most famous Regency, though, and the backdrop for Bridgerton, began when madness had finally cast King George III into darkness, clearing the way for the Regency of his dissolute eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, who ruled Britain as Prince Regent until George III died and the Regent became King George IV.

For England, this era witnessed major events such as the War of 1812, the Luddite Riots and the Peterloo Massacre, during which 11 people were killed in a Manchester demonstration where protesters demanded political reform and the right to vote.

Most decisively, there was the British and allied victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.

It was also a time of artistic and literary flourishing: Jane Austen published all six of her novels of courtship and romance in the Regency, including Pride and Prejudice, which appeared in 1813.

In its dreams of freedom, its embrace of consumerism and celebrity culture, its mass protests in support of social justice and its complex response to the burgeoning pace of scientific and technological advance, the Regency signals both a decisive break from the past and the onset of the desiring, democratic, commercial, secular, opportunistic society that is for the first time recognizably our own.

Fatal pastimes and conquests

Much of the plot of Bridgerton is indebted to the preoccupations, pressures and privileges of Regency aristocratic society.

Duels were common and sometimes deadly. People from across the social classes flocked to the theatre. There was a fixation with dress and appearance. Gambling was a mania. Sports played a leading role in the lives of many women and men.

Portait of a man.
Robert Wedderburn, author of ‘The Horrors of Slavery.’ (Wikimedia Commons)

In Bridgerton, the Duke of Hastings spars frequently with Will Mondrich, a Black boxer and confidante of the Duke’s, who is perhaps modelled on Thomas Molyneaux, a freed black slave from America, and a formidable Regency prizefighter.

Bigotry was deeply ingrained in the Regency, and fuelled the violence and colonial greed of Britain’s so-called “civilizing mission” across the globe.

In 1807, Britain declared the slave trade illegal, and during the Regency abolitionists like William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson worked tirelessly to ensure that every effort was made to enforce the new legislation, and that support grew for the abolition of slavery itself, which finally became law in 1833.

The most important Black writer of the Regency was Jamaican-born Robert Wedderburn, the illegitimate son of Rosanna, an African-born slave, and James Wedderburn.

In the midst of government crackdowns on the impoverished and disenfranchised, Wedderburn declared in 1817 that “The earth was given to the children of men, making no difference for colour or character.”

Rakery, non-consensual sex

Sexuality was frequently on display in the Regency. The period marked the brazen culmination of the 18th-century tradition of libertinism, and was the last great huzzah for rakes — men who had sexual relationships with a lot of women — before the sobering and much stricter mores of the Victorian era.

Bridgerton frames sexual conflict in ways that reflect the immense pressure on aristocratic women to remain chaste, a burden brought clearly into view in the Regency era thanks in large part to authors like Austen and Mary Shelley.

Bridgerton’s most controversial scene evokes highly contemporary questions. Daphne and her new husband, the Duke of Hastings, engage in non-consensual sex, with Daphne as the aggressor.

Before their marriage, the Duke has told Daphne he cannot have children. She soon learns that he can, but just will not. Determined to become pregnant, she retaliates. In the book, the Duke is drunk during sex, in the Netflix series he is not.

Neither the novel nor the film addresses the implications of Daphne’s actions directly. But the issue of consent is foregrounded in both instances.

Canadian writer Sharon Bala notes that “by rendering a more nuanced version of events than pop culture usually offers, Bridgerton forces an important conversation about the grey zone in which so many real-life encounters exists.”

At a time when Meghan Markle has been driven to California after being bombarded in 2019 with 5,000 racist and abusive tweets in two months, and the fallout from #MeToo disclosures and prosecutions still preoccupies our society, Bridgerton raises pointed questions about who we want to be now.The Conversation


Robert Morrison, British Academy Global Professor, and Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

Enabling better aging: The four things seniors need, and the four things that need to change

An older couple in their home
Most seniors do not want to live in long-term care facilities. They want to continue living in their family home, in the same community with familiar neighbours, surroundings and amenities. (Shutterstock)

Canada’s population is rapidly aging, but is it aging well? In our November 2020 report “Ageing Well,” we found both good and bad news.

Ageing Well, Queen's University School of Policy Studies, Author provided

The good is that Canadians are living longer. Back when medicare became the backbone of our health-care system about 60 years ago, seniors made up 7.6 per cent of the population. They now constitute 17.5 per cent and will be almost 25 per cent in 2041 — 10.8 million people whose average age will be in the low 80s just over 20 years from now. They should all age happily and well.

The bad news is that they don’t want to live in old-folks’ homes where current policy tends to put them. Also, ensuring they have the support services they need to age well will require major changes to how, where and by whom those services are provided, and change can be difficult to implement in any dimension of health care.

Providing those services will also cost each of us more, both individually and as taxpayers. Canada is heading into a less robust economic period, in part due to the need to pay down our COVID-19 debt — and we may be hard-pressed to pay that bill.

Long-term care (LTC) in all Canadian provinces has become more or less synonymous with the care and services provided in nursing and retirement homes owned and operated by private for-profit and not-for-profit companies, charities and municipalities.

Relative to many other developed countries, the foundation of Canadian policy to meet the needs of the elderly is aptly described as “warehousing,” housing designed primarily to optimize the efficient provision of nursing and personal care. Most if not all such care homes also do their best to provide other services too, but it’s fair to say that meeting seniors’ social and recreational needs plays second fiddle to meeting their personal and health-care needs.

What seniors need to age well

What do our seniors want? It’s not to live in an institution, the possible exception being the poor soul who has lingered too long in an alternative level of care bed: no longer in need of intensive in-hospital care but still requiring some services not readily available in most Canadian provinces other than LTC facilities.

To age well, seniors have four interrelated needs:

  1. Housing appropriate to their needs and preferences. For most, their strong preference is for the family home in the same community with familiar neighbours, surroundings and amenities. They want to age in place and remain there as long as they possibly can, receiving the care and support services they need at home.

  2. Flexible health and personal care, and household support appropriate for each individual or elderly couple as their needs wax and wane. These needs usually increase as they age, but not always. Evidence shows clearly that if the well-being of seniors is supported in all its dimensions, and if the delivery of services begins “upstream” at the first sign of trouble, the prevention and slowing — if not reversing — of the onset and progression of both dementia and other manifestations of frailty can be achieved.

  3. Socialization is another of the four key needs of aging well, a need met best by enabling seniors to remain in their own communities with their families, friends and neighbours and recognizing their familiarity with the range of the services their community provides.

  4. Meeting seniors’ lifestyle and/or recreational needs is also vital to aging well, especially as they’re integrated with the individual’s or couple’s social needs. Sadly, data indicate that seniors, like too many other Canadians in our contemporary online society, are succumbing to “couch potato” tendencies that erode the beneficial effects both of social interactions and regular exercise.

With respect to the money we spend to help our seniors age well, Canada is an outlier among developed countries. We spend less overall (in 2017, 1.3 per cent of Canada’s GDP) on long-term continuing care and services; only Spain spends less (0.7 per cent). Implementing the likely recommendations to come out of several provincial COVID-related LTC reviews will likely take us to the OECD average, or slightly above it.

However, our outlier status will remain accentuated by our remarkably imbalanced spending of $1 on home care for every $6 spent on institutional LTC. Most others spend roughly equal amounts, and those most highly regarded for the high quality and happy outcomes of enabling seniors to age well — Denmark and the Netherlands, for example — do the reverse. They spend more on home and community services than on institutional care.

Source: Conference Board of Canada 2016, BC Care Providers Association 2019, and the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario 2019. The BCCPA and FAO projections were made provincially and converted to Canada-wide projections. (Ageing Well, Queen's University School of Policy Studies), Author provided

Four factors that must change

Given our foreseeable demographic and economic circumstances, continuing with the same policy choices defies comprehension.

First, as COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated, care homes are dangerous places in which infectious diseases can spread easily; some 80 per cent of deaths in the first wave in Canada were in LTC homes.

Second, given the increased number and advancing age of the baby boomer generation, continuing with our warehousing propensity is doomed to failure. The number of care-home beds that would be required is simply beyond what we could afford. This is compounded by the fact that such beds were already subject to long waiting lists even before their post-COVID-19 downsizing to eliminate shared rooms and washrooms.

Third, to reiterate, few seniors want to live in long-term care, preferring strongly to remain in their own homes and communities or in various alternative forms of communal housing in which they have access to home and community services.

And fourth, the cost of institutional accommodation and care — to residents, their families and the public purse — exceeds by far what it would cost to provide an extended range of seniors’ needs through beefed-up home and community support services. That would be expensive too, but it’s an approach to helping our seniors age well that our country could afford.

Substantial change to Canada’s long-term support service systems is long overdue. It’s time to get at it.The Conversation


Don Drummond, Stauffer-Dunning Fellow in Global Public Policy and Adjunct Professor at the School of Policy Studies, Queen's University, and Duncan Sinclair, Professor of Health Services and Policy Research, Queen's University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

Queen’s researcher named IEEE Fellow

Alireza Bakhshai has been recognized for contributions to the development of synchronization techniques for power electronics converters.

Queen’s researcher Alireza Bakhshai (Electrical and Computer Engineering) has been named a 2021 Fellow of The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). The IEEE grade of Fellow is the highest grade of membership in the global institute and is recognized as a prestigious award and career achievement.

Alireza Bakhshai
Alireza Bakhshai

“I am extremely honoured to be elected as an IEEE Fellow for my work in the development of synchronization techniques for power electronics converters” says Dr. Bakhshai. “This award, received from an esteemed worldwide group community of electrical and electronic engineers, recognizes the impact of my work and collaboration with many wonderful people over the years. I look forward to further contributions to research and engineering in the future.”

Only one in 1,000 IEEE members become fellows each year. 

Dr. Bakhshai is being recognized for his groundbreaking advancements as one of the first investigators to develop new power signals for grid and off-grid operations of distributed energy sources. He also proposed novel power architectures and control techniques for designing microinverters for photovoltaic systems, including control techniques that remove the need to store an electric charge for photovaltaic applications. His innovations in this area have resulted in over 250 publications and 16 patents (issued and pending).  

His work also informed the development of the Queen’s University start-up company, SPARQ Systems, which has has raised over $30 million in venture capital and government grants. The company has designed and launched three generations of products into the marketplace using several of his patents.  

Moving forward Dr. Bakhshai will continue his research with his students and collaborators at Queen’s University’s Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER).

"I plan to explore the positive impact of the distributed electric power generation and distributed energy storage systems on the power grid in terms of voltage stability, voltage-ride-through, frequency-ride-through via the control of active and reactive power of the inverters,” he says.

The IEEE currently has 419,000 members across 160 countries and is the world's largest technical professional society. It is designed to serve professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic, aerospace and computing fields and related areas of science and technology that underlie modern civilization. For more information about IEEE Fellow program, visit the IEEE website.

What motivates changing behaviours during COVID-19


A woman shopper wearing a surgical mask stocks up on toilet paper at a supermarket
In the early days of the pandemic, people panic bought toilet paper. (Shutterstock)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to make some pretty interesting decisions like buying in bulk, wearing face masks and physically distancing from other people.

The Conversation logoHow do we make decisions and choices? Motivation is the reason why we do what we do. Motivation theory analyzes the why of human behaviour as a means of understanding people’s decision-making processes. But people’s motivations are more complicated than we might think, because decisions are usually based on several factors that may or may not be context-specific.

My research looks at how people can be motivated to innovate: I study learning environments, leadership strategies and how to develop innovation potential. Understanding motivation in innovation can help us understand how we make decisions in unusual times.

Motivation depends on what’s going on

Motivation as a field of study can be found in the writings of the Greek philosopher Plutarch and the Bhagavad Gita — among many other ancient texts — although focused psychological studies or motivation dynamics are rather recent. In the past century, motivation theory has looked at whether motivation is extrinsic or intrinsic to a task.

Those of us who study motivation have many theories to choose from, each with strengths and weaknesses. You would, however, be hard-pressed to find a framework more easily transferable than expectancy-value-cost theory (EVC), which understands motivation as uniquely contextual for each situation.

One way to think of it is as a dynamic interaction of the expectancies (confidence in the outcome) and values (what makes it valuable) going up against the perceived costs related to a given task to a given person in a given context. If your held expectancies and values outweigh your perceived costs, you are likely motivated to complete the task, and vice versa.

What drove people to buy up toilet paper?

For most of March and April 2020, it was pretty hard to come by toilet paper because it was literally rolling off the shelves. People were panic-buying toilet paper in bulk, and supply couldn’t keep up with demand.

Applying EVC theory suggests that people were increasingly motivated to buy toilet paper because of a perceived need to be prepared. The increase in perceived value went unchecked, and plenty of people’s motivation to buy toilet paper went through the roof as fast as their probably sound reasoning went down the drain.

Increasing, explaining or revealing the values of any task (good or bad) makes it more likely that someone will do it. When you effectively communicating why people should behave in a certain way by explaining the value of a decision or choice, they are more likely to behave in that way.

How did people adjust to working from home?

A public health mandate may have necessitated many people to work from home, but until many people actually had settled into working from home, few would have believed that they could passably perform their role from home. Folks might have been nervous or unconfident in their ability to accomplish their role early on, but over time, people grew into working from home or in whatever changed circumstance they found themselves working in.

In other words, we adapted to the reality in front of us. Lots of people would now be more likely to think it’s possible to capably manage working from home.

Our expectations of success are built by our lived experiences, especially the unplanned ones, and we are more comfortable doing what we have done in the past. These experiences change what we believe ourselves to be capable of doing.

Motivating a desired outcome

EVC theory can be applied to increase the chances of a specific outcome. As a first step, EVC theory splits the factors into two groups, those that promote the task outcome and those that hinder the task outcome. Naturally, we would want to make the promoting factors as big as possible and the hindering factors as small as possible as for instance innovating or changing thinking .

This makes for a two-pronged approach to motivate people to make the desired choice: maximizing expectancies and values and mitigating costs, such as time investment, isolation, loss of stability, sense of safety and additional effort.

In the case of people adapting to physical distancing (or pretty much anything), providing easily understood information from a trusted source will likely increase the chances of the behaviour. Explaining in clear terms what someone will get from doing something builds one or more types of value, such as fulfilling a communal or shared duty.

This can be applied anywhere, for example, fitness during the pandemic, healthy diets, physical distancing. The key is helping someone see and believe they can do something, explain what the whole point of the exercise is and what they get from doing it (fun, fulfilment, importance or reward) and then work to address their perceived barriers to actually doing it. This turns into the blueprint for driving desired behaviours.The Conversation


Eleftherios Soleas, Adjunct assistant professor, Education, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Resources for Research at Queen’s Virtual Event Series

[R4R@Q Logo]The Resources for Research at Queen’s (R4R@Q) series hosted by the Vice-Principal (Research) portfolio is returning virtually for 2021. The series is intended to help researchers learn more about the many services that can help them throughout the development of their research projects. On topics from project conception to knowledge mobilization and promotion, speakers from across the university will give presentations, take questions, and provide resources on how researchers can leverage their units’ services.

The next event will be on Jan. 13 from 11 am-noon on “Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity and Responsibility: The ‘4Rs’ of Indigenous Research.” Panelists include Wendy Phillips (Elder in Residence at the Office of Indigenous Initiatives), Sharon Clarke (Associate Director at the Office of Indigenous Initiatives), and Aleksandra Bergier (Research Advisor, Indigenous Initiatives at the Vice-Principal Research portfolio). Registration is required to access the virtual event.

Additional topics in the 2021 series are listed below. To learn more, register for the series, or access resources from past sessions, visit the Vice-Principal (Research) website.

For questions, please contact Andrea Hiltz, Research Projects Advisor.

The 2020/2021 Series Schedule:

What is in your EDII toolkit? Championing EDII practices in different disciplines. Panel Discussion and Q&A session

Presented by: Human Rights and Equity Office and VPR Portfolio

Date: Dec. 9 (Watch Session Recording)

Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity and Responsibility: The “4Rs” of Indigenous Research

Presented by: Office of Indigenous Initiatives and VPR Portfolio

Date: Jan. 13, 11 am-12 pm EST (Register)

Expanding Networks and Building Partnerships with Industry

Presented by: Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI)

Date: Feb. 10, 10-11 am EST 

Introduction to Intellectual Property and how to manage it in your lab

Presented by: Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI)

Date: Feb. 24, 10-11 am EST

Breaking Down Research Silos: The Power of the Queen’s Research Discovery Network 

Presented by: VPR Portfolio and Information Technology Services (ITS)

Date: March 10, 2-3 pm EST

Get your Head in the Clouds! How IT Services’ Cloud Technologies can Accelerate your Research Success

Presented by: Information Technology Services (ITS)

Date: March 24, 2-3 pmEST

Research and Indigenous Initiatives 

Presented by: Office of Indigenous Initiatives and VPR Portfolio

Date: Early April 2021

Conflict of Interest for Researchers

Presented by: Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (Research Contracts Unit)

Date: April 21, 2-3 pm EST

Promoting your research in an evolving communications landscape
Presented by: Vice-Principal University Relations (Media Relations and Research Promotion)
Date: May 5, 10-11 pm EST

Data Management

Presented by: Open Scholarship Services, Queen’s University Library

Date: Late May 2021

Graeme Howe (Chemistry) wins Polanyi Prize

Graeme Howe
Graeme Howe

Graeme Howe, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been recognized by the Province of Ontario with a 2020 Polanyi Prize.

Dr. Howe is one of five recipients of the annual award that recognizes leading researchers who are in the early stages of their careers and/or pursuing post-doctoral research at an Ontario university in the fields of physics, literature, chemistry, economic science, and medicine/ physiology. The recipients represent the province's next generation of world-class researchers.

The prize, named for 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry John Polanyi, is the province’s highest honour for researchers.

The Government of Ontario’s announcement describes Dr. Howe’s research as follows: “In the Howe Lab at Queen's University, Dr. Graeme W. Howe studies organic chemistry to understand the evolution of enzymes and how they have evolved to accelerate chemical reactions. Chemistry and chemical reactions are foundational to the production of most goods and commodities. Many chemical reactions are energetically demanding or require expensive, environmentally harmful catalysts. By studying enzymes, Dr. Howe hopes to design more environmentally-friendly and efficient enzymes to streamline industrial processes.”

Recipients are chosen by a selection committee consisting of 10 members, two from each of the five prize categories. Committee members are nominated by the deans of the Graduate Schools in Ontario and selected by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.

Read the full release.

2020: The Year in Research

A look back at the major initiatives, the funding and awards garnered, and how a community mobilized to respond to and combat COVID-19.

In recent years, we have taken a moment each December to highlight some of the research that has captured our attention over the previous 12 months.

2020 was not a normal year. It challenged us, tested us, and saw our research community pivot in creative and unexpected ways to respond to the global crisis. Through all of this, research prominence remained a key driver for Queen’s and our researchers continued to make national and international headlines for their discoveries and award-winning scholarship.

Join us as we review some of the highlights of 2020.

[Photo of Hailey Poole dispensing hand sanitizer]
A team of Queen’s researchers from the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering along with GreenCentre Canada partnered with Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Tri-Art Manufacturing (Kingston) to develop hand sanitizer, producing up to 300 litres of product per week to help meet the needs of Kingston hospitals.

COVID-19 Response: Mobilizing as a Community to Confront COVID-19

In the early days of the pandemic, Queen’s researchers across disciplines were active in offering commentary and fact-based analysis on COVID-19-related issues – from understanding if DNA is key to whether you get COVID and helping to diagnose unusual symptoms related to COVID stress to suggesting 5-min workouts you can do at home. Many of these analyses were carried on national and international news platforms, demonstrating the critical contribution that researchers and academics can make to informing the conversation.

When news of PPE and ventilator shortages and test wait times hit international media, research and student groups across campus leveraged their skills to come up with innovative solutions. Here are a few examples:

  • A team of researchers from the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, along with GreenCentre Canada, partnered with Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Tri-Art Manufacturing (Kingston) to make 300 litres of hand sanitizer per week to help meet the needs of Kingston hospitals
  • Researchers from Queen’s University and KHSC partnered with Public Health Ontario Laboratories and Hamilton Health Sciences Center to develop an in-house COVID test that can provide results in 24 hours
  • Faculty and students at the Human Mobility Research Centre and Ingenuity Labs joined forces with KHSC health professionals to take on the Code Life Ventilator Challenge, a global call to design a low-cost and easy-to-manufacture ventilator that can be created and deployed anywhere around the world
  • Queen’s Noble Laureate, Dr. Arthur B. McDonald, led the Canadian arm of the Mechanical Ventilator Milano project, which aimed to create an easy-to-build ventilator that can help treat COVID-19 patients. In May, the Government of Canada announced an agreement with Vexos to produce 10,000 Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM) units and in September the ventilators received Health Canada approval
(Photo by Matthew Manor / Kingston Health Sciences Centre)
Queen’s University and Kingston Health Sciences Centres (KHSC) partnered with Public Health Ontario Laboratories and Hamilton Health Sciences Center to develop an in-house test for COVID-19 that can be completed in large volumes and provide results in 24 hours. (Photo by Matthew Manor / Kingston Health Sciences Centre)

The Vice-Principal (Research) Portfolio also quickly mobilized to offer Rapid Response funding, which was awarded to advance 20 research projects supporting medical and social coronavirus-related solutions. Queen’s researchers also partnered with industry to transform pandemic decision-making and healthcare through two Digital Technology Supercluster projects, Looking Glass and Project ACTT, focused on predictive modelling and cancer testing and treatment. The projects received over $4 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster’s COVID-19 program.

Funding Future Research

Queen’s continued to attract leading researchers and competitive funding and awards through a number of national and international programs.

[Rendering of the MVM Ventilator]
A team of Canadian physicists, led by Queen’s Nobel Laureate Art McDonald, is part of an international effort to design the MVM Ventilator. With support from Canadian philanthropists and Queen's alumni the project was able to progress, leading to an order of 10,000 units from the Government of Canada.

Hundreds of grants for new projects and research infrastructure were secured through CHIR, SSHRC, NSERC and CFI, Canada’s national funding agencies. Seven multidisciplinary Queen’s research projects received $1.7 million in support from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2019 Exploration competition, a program that fosters discovery and innovation by encouraging Canadian researchers to explore, take risks, and work with partners across disciplines and borders. Additionally, The Canadian Cancer Trials Group, SNOLAB, and Canada’s National Design Network, all of which are Queen’s-affiliated research facilities, saw a funding increase of over $60 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Sciences Initiatives fund. The Institute for Sustainable Finance received a boost of $5 million from Canada’s big banks to support ISF’s mission of aligning mainstream financial markets with Canada’s transition to a lower carbon economy.

The university welcomed and appointed seven new and two renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRC) in two rounds (September and December 2020) of CRC competition announced this year. One of the country’s highest research honours, Queen’s is now home to over 50 Canada Research Chairs. Queen’s also welcomed seven promising new researchers through the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars and Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship programs.

Recognizing Research Leadership

2020 saw Queen’s researchers win some of Canada’s top awards and honours for research excellence and the university continues to rank second in Canada for awards per faculty member (2021 Maclean’s University Rankings).

[Photo of Leach’s storm petrel chick by Sabina Wilhelm]
Queen's researchers, from graduate students to Canada Research Chairs, continue to make an impact on our understanding of the world. (Photo by Sabina Wilhelm

Queen’s had a successful year earning fellowships within Canada’s national academies. Nancy van Deusen and Cathleen Crudden were elected to the Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, while Amy Latimer-Cheung and Awet Weldemichael were named members of the organization’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Health research leaders Janet Dancey, Marcia Finlayson, and Graeme Smith were inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and Michael Cunningham and Jean Hutchinson were elected to the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

While our researchers were recognized with dozens of honours throughout the year, below are a few highlights: David Lyon secured Canada’s Molson Prize for pioneering the field of surveillance studies. Education researcher Lynda Colgan received the NSERC Science Promo Prize for her efforts in promoting science to the general public. Heather Castleden was awarded a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa to engage with Native Hawaiians about their leadership in renewable energy projects. A lauded steward of the environment, John Smol received Canada’s Massey Medal for his lifetime of work in studying environmental stressors. The first Indigenous midwife in Canada to earn a doctoral degree, health researcher Karen Lawford was named one of this year’s 12 outstanding Indigenous leaders and received the Indspire Award for Health.

Internally, researchers were honoured with the university’s Prizes for Excellence in Research (Yan-Fei-Liu, Michael Cunningham, and Gabor Fichtinger) and the Distinguished University Professor (Audrey Kobayashi, David Bakhurst, Julian Barling, Glenville Jones, John Smol, Kathleen Lahey) title.

Major Initiatives

The Discover Research@Queen’s campaign was launched to build engagement with the Research@Queen’s website and encouraged 1000s of key external stakeholders to learn more about the research happening at the University. Our community continued to mobilize their research through fact-based analysis on The Conversation Canada’s news platform. In 2020, 79 Queen’s researchers published 85 articles that garnered over 1.9 million views.

[Illustration of the scales of justice by Gary Neill]
Queen's University researchers Samuel Dahan and Xiaodan Zhu are using AI to level the legal playing field for Canadians, including those affected by COVID-19 unemployment.

This year marked the fifth anniversary of the Art of Research photo contest with over 100 faculty, staff, students, and alumni submitting engaging and thought-provoking research images. Ten category and special prizes were awarded.

The WE-Can (Women Entrepreneurs Canada) program through Queen’s Partnership and Innovation (QPI) celebrated one year of supporting women entrepreneurs in Kingston and the surrounding area, through programs such as Compass North and LEAD.  The QPI team also marked one year at its new downtown Kingston location, the Seaway Coworking building, which allows easy access for the community and partners.

To support researchers thinking outside of the box to solve some of humanity’s most complex problems, the Vice-Principal (Research) portfolio launched the Wicked Ideas competition to fund high risk, high reward projects with interdisciplinary teams that are not easily supported through traditional funding opportunities. Twelve projects received funding in round one and researchers can now apply for round two.

Congratulations to the Queen’s research community for their resilience and successes this year. We look forward to seeing what new research and opportunities 2021 will bring. To learn more about research at the university, visit the Research@Queen’s website, and for information about research promotion, contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives.

[Art of Photo by Hayden Wainwright]
2020 Art of Research Photo Contest Winner: Hayden Wainwright (MSc Biology), Nature's van Gogh (Category: Out in the Field)

Queen’s University announces five new Canada Research Chairs

New chairs have wide-ranging expertise in research  from glaciers to youth in Africa.

Five academics at Queen’s University have been named Canada Research Chairs (CRCs), a prestigious honour created to promote leading-edge research and attract and retain the world’s best researchers. Stéfanie von Hlatky, Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, Laura Thomson, Susan Bartels, and Jacqueline Monaghan have been named Tier 2 CRCs.  

A five-year position, Tier 2 Chairs are granted to exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. The CRC program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s national funding bodies. 

“I am delighted that these five exceptional women leaders have been appointed Canada Research Chairs at Queen’s,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice Principal (Research). “These outstanding researchers have and will continue to contribute to new discoveries across multiple disciplines, enhancing our research excellence.” 

Here is some information about the new Chairs:  

[Photo of Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin]
Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, Canada Research Chair in Youth and African Urban Futures

Grace Adeniyi-OgunyankinCanada Research Chair in Youth and African Urban Futures (Geography and Planning, Gender Studies, SSHRC funded) - Dr. Adeniyi-Ogunyankin's research involves a comparative study of the impact of contemporary urban transformations on African youth identity, labour practices, psychosocial well-being and future orientation. Explorations of the relationship between youth and the new urban economy are critical to addressing issues of sociopolitical stability and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. 

[Photo of Susan Bartels]
Susan Bartels, Canada Research Chair in Humanitarian Health Equity

Susan BartelsCanada Research Chair in Humanitarian Health Equity  (Emergency Medicine, CIHR funded) - Dr. Bartels’ research examines the social determinants of health among women and children affected by war and disasters. Her research provides evidence to inform policies / practices to improve well-being and health while reducing the negative impact of war and disasters on women and children.

[Photo of Jacqueline Monaghan]
Jacqueline Monaghan, Canada Research Chair in Plant Immunology

Jacqueline Monaghan, Canada Research Chair in Plant Immunology (Biology, NSERC funded) - Every year, Canadian crop farmers battle diseases by spraying fields with environmentally unfriendly pesticides. The knowledge gained from this project by Dr. Monaghan will advance understanding of how plants defend against pathogen infection and this work may inform agricultural practices to improve crop yield and reduce chemical use. 

[Photo of Laura Thomson]
Laura Thomson, Canada Research Chair in Integrated Glacier Monitoring Practices

Laura ThomsonCanada Research Chair in Integrated Glacier Monitoring Practices (Geography and Planning, NSERC funded) - With Canada hosting the largest area of glaciers outside of Greenland and Antarctica, Canadian glaciers are a leading contributor to rising sea-level. Dr. Thomson seeks to determine the processes controlling the volume, timing, and chemistry of glacier runoff and develop models to provide rapid estimates of glacier runoff in regions without observations. 

[Photo of Stefanie von Hlatky]
Stéfanie von Hlatky, Canada Research Chair in Gender, Security, and the Armed Forces

Stéfanie von HlatkyCanada Research Chair in Gender, Security, and the Armed Forces (Political Studies, SSHRC funded) - More inclusive conflict resolution, such as giving women an equal voice in peace talks, have shown to provide better long-term solutions. Dr. von Hlatky will show how greater diversity and inclusion can improve the prospects of peace. She will seize on new opportunities to make a significant and lasting contribution to policy and military practice, in support of more peaceful outcomes. 


Subscribe to RSS - Research Prominence